Saturday, November 11, 2006

On Reading Chesterton Aloud to a Three-Year-Old

A beatuiful story told by Kyro:

Anyway, I had to stay in her bedroom to keep her from escaping, and I was using the time to make some progress in Ballad of the White Horse,...My daughter was looking at one of her animal books, and turned to me and asked, "Can you read me your book, Daddy?" I laid down next to her and started reading out loud. It stuck me then just how ingenious Chesterton was in the arrangement of this work. Much like Beowulf, and earlier epics, there is something gained by the oral recitation of the poetry. There is a wonderful rhythm and cadence to White Horse which captivated my little girl. I was completely awestruck by the situation because my daughter, to this point, has absolutely refused anything to do with a book that does not have pictures. I know she didnt catch much of the meaning of the words, but there are some powerful stanzas to be found in Ballad of the White Horse:
"Misshapen ships stood on the deep
Full of strange gold and fire,
And hairy men, as huge as sin,
With horned heads, came wading in
Through the long, low sea-mire.
Our towns were shaken of tall kings
With scarlet beards like blood;
The world tuned empty where they trod,
They took the kindly cross of God
And cut it up for wood." (85-95)

I just noticed that The Ballad can also be purchased in audio format, perfect for driving in the car, or for when your voice gives out waiting for a three-year-old to fall asleep.


  1. Thanks Nancy! I've been looking for something of G.K.'s to give my grandkids. Any other recommendations?

    Also, remember that today is Veteran's Day. My wife and I are stopping at the Highground near Neillsville to pay our respects to all those who gave some and those who gave all. Then we're meeting with some WWII Paratroopers in Waupaca. The kind of people G.K. wrote about in LePanto.

    God bless all.

  2. Tom: for the grandkids: get the audio. Next, get some Father Brown on audio.

    By next Christmas, you'll have a new book to be able to give them that they can read. A sort of "My First Chesterton" type thing. Stay tuned right here for the details.


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